I am flying airBaltic in a few weeks from Vilnius, Lithuania to Riga, Latvia, and then from Riga to Tallinn, Estonia. I am so excited to add another carrier to my roster, and will most certainly be doing a trip report of my experience with them.
One of the reasons why I am excited to fly airBaltic is because they are a hybrid carrier, meaning that most of their fees are unbundled. Since I will be traveling for an extended period of time, I had to pay extra for certain things like carry-on luggage. You can, however, opt to purchase some of their ancillary products using bundled packages, which I will go into further detail when I write my trip report in just a few weeks.
However, one thing I wanted to draw attention to in advance was their sleek website, which offers the ability to “pre-order” meals on their flights. Most airBaltic routes are short or medium haul (no greater than 6 hours) yet they provide some of the most robust menus I’ve ever seen on an airline before. Furthermore, the website is super sleek and user-friendly to enable this process to take place, and the meals themselves are very reasonably priced.
How It Works
You can book the meal service any time prior to your flight up to 24 hours. You don’t even have to have a valid confirmed booking on an airBaltic flight in order to browse the menu and pre-order a meal! As a side note, however, you are required to pay for it, and so if you pay for the meal, but ultimately never reserve a seat on an airBaltic flight, I assume they either refund you or just keep your funds and don’t deliver the meal?
At any rate, you can pre-populate the routing you’re flying on to see which menu options are available on that flight if you so desire and need some extra convincing to fly airBaltic between different cities over another carrier.
If you pre-paid for a meal on airBaltic, or are several days out from your trip and are interested in purchasing food onboard, then airBaltic often sends a reminder e-mail to allow you to do this. You’re then directed to a very smart interface with nicely-marketed pictures of their items for purchase:
From here you are literally taken to a place where you can browse over 70 meals available on your flight. Hot meals are available on flights which are 1 hour and 30 minutes or greater. Major credit cards are accepted, including Visa, MasterCard or Bank Link Swedbank.
The meal options spread across EIGHT types of menu options, including:
- Cold starters
- Meat entrees
- Seafood entrees
- Special meals
You also have five categories of beverage options which include:
- Juices and soft drinks
- Wine and Champagne
- Alcoholic beverages
I was shocked by the sheer array of options. I’m fairly certain that no airline has this many choices available in any major class of service, including Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways – even on the Etihad residence!
Here is a gamut of the menu options that they had for each of the categories, with as few as nine options per category!
You’ll notice that there are grayed-out options if the meal isn’t available on your flight. Since my booking from Riga to Tallinn, as was the case here, is not a long flight, most hot options were not available. Still, I felt like I had a great selection to choose from.
After your options are selected, you then are taken to the total section (if you haven’t paid already). You’ll be charged for your items, and some of them include a complimentary drink with it. I know that my Ciabatta Venezia came with a bottle of red wine included, and per the e-mail I later received in my inbox, it also comes with a chocolate bar and yogurt.
This is where you will be able to see the menu based on the email they send:
I personally think that this is an AWESOME way for airlines to merchandise high-quality food onboard their flights (well, at least in theory – we’ll see how it turns out in practice) but it also just gives great options for customers. If I were a family traveling on vacation, I would definitely use this option.
What are your thoughts on the airBaltic food merchandising process? Have you flown them before or used this online pre-selection method before, and what was your experience like? Share in the comments below!